(Nihon = Japan in Japanese)
I’m in Japan for the summer on a NSF EAPSI Fellowship. I’ll be characterizing the amino acid composition and concentrations during the spring (smoltification) and fall (homing) periods in Lake Champlain, the Winooski and Boquet Rivers (the two prioritized for Atlantic salmon restoration), and three hatcheries (Eisenhower and Berkshire National Fish Hatcheries run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Ed Weed Fish Culture Station run by the VT Fish and Wildlife) that are part of the restoration effort. Our goal is to understand what the restoration system smells like to the fish at the key periods of imprinting during smoltification (spring) and homing migration to spawn (fall).
This first week we (the other ~150 students from USA, Canada, Germany, U.K., and France participating in the JSPS program) have been in orientation at Sokendai University. Sokendai is located southwest of Tokyo in a beautiful mountainous region near the ocean.
I just got back from an amazing home-stay with the Kawashima family. As with all my international experiences, people are people. The family was so warm and really made me feel at home. The kids loved to play video games (our one way of communication) and the dad loved beer (easy for me). We even made pancakes; so the Vermont syrup I accidently sent north to my host-lab will be a great surprise for the family.
Now a couple more days of orientation and I’m headed up north to Hokkaido.